Diocese: Diocese of New England
Deanery: Northern Deanery
20 Petrograd St
Berlin, New Hampshire 03570-2063
Jefferson, NH 03583
St Johnsbury, VT 05819
Lancaster, NH 03584
From the South
Take Route 16 into Berlin. Turn left at the Berlin City Bank, then turn left at the traffic light (Dunkin Donuts). Turn right onto Mount Forist (before the post office), cross the railroad tracks, and go up the steep hill almost to the end of the street. Turn left on Russian St and you will see the Church.
From the North
Take Route 16 into Berlin. Go through the traffic light at Dunkin Donuts. Turn right onto Mount Forist (before the post office), cross the railroad tracks, and go up the steep hill almost to the end of the street. Turn left on Russian St and you will see the Church.
Schedule of Services
6:00 PM Great Vespers.
9:00 AM Divine Liturgy, 11:00 AM Sunday School.
6:00 PM Vesperal Liturgy.
Eves of Great Feasts
6:00 PM Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts followed by Lenten potluck supper.
Wednesday Evenings in Great Lent
HOLY WEEK: A full schedule of services is served; call for times. LESSER FEASTS AND SPECIAL SERVICES: Call for times.
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“According to the commission of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:10-11)
Holy Resurrection Orthodox Church stands like a gem overlooking the city of Berlin, NH. Its many-domed roof rises into the sky, its gold crosses glow in the sun. The church truly was founded on the rock of faith, and has served to preserve and spread the light of Orthodox Christianity throughout the northern reaches of the New England Diocese.
In the early 1900’s, the lumber business of northern New Hampshire was booming. It was back-breaking labor, with cold, wet and dangerous conditions, entailing virtual exile from the company of wives and family. But there was plenty of work, and there was plenty of young men who followed the spirit of adventure and left their home countries of Europe to seek good fortune in the country of America.
By 1915, Berlin population rolls included approximately 300 Russian men—32 with families—mostly hailing from Minsk, Wolensk and Gordensk. Concerned over the salvation of his isolated brethren in Berlin, Rev Fr Jacob Gregorieff of Boston appealed to the newly consecrated Archbishop Evdokim of New York and North America. In March of 1915, the priest was appointed who would act as the catalyst for the founding of Holy Resurrection parish. After serving his first service, Fr Arcady Piotrowsky gathered his flock at the parish hall of St Barnabas Episcopal Church. Here, a first step towards a constant Orthodox Christian presence was taken when the group of 139 Russians unanimously agreed to have a regular priest, Church, and school. They elected an executive committee and elders, adopted a constitution and by-laws and named their newly founded church “Holy Resurrection Russian Orthodox Greek Catholic Church”. A mere five months later, construction of the church was complete, and on October 10 it was dedicated by Archbishop Evdokim. According to the 1940 commemorative booklet, “At the conclusion of the impressive morning service, a cornerstone laying service was conducted by Archbishop Evdokim.”
Events of the 20th Century always threatened the life of the Holy Resurrection parish. The Russian Revolution caused great turmoil in the Church in America: church leadership was disrupted, financial support from the Mother country abruptly ceased, and priests’ travel from Russia was curtailed. The effects of mill strikes and the Depression resulted in a substantial exodus of parishioners seeking work elsewhere. World War II caused another exodus; some families moved to take advantage of booming munition plant empolyment, others left Berlin as soldiers. Many never returned. Intermarriage with people of other faiths also caused a dwindling of parishioners. It became increasingly difficult to get, and keep, priests. In 1963, the church doors closed, the bells were silenced. For 11 years the church was closed. The domes and crosses tarnished, the windows cracked, the paint chipped, but through this dark time, somehow the foundation held.
In 1974, Eugenia Tupick, the wife of one of the young men who founded the church, died. Her family asked Fr Peter Tutko from Springfield, VT to perform the funeral service. He came to Berlin, and through his appeal to Bishop Dmitri, Holy Resurrection was once again “found.” Fr Michael Westerberg was assigned to Holy Resurrection parish. To this “second generation” he had to re-teach the doctrines of the church. To do so Fr Michael encouraged the change of liturgical language from old Church Slavonic to English. With the help of an enthusiastic and talented seminarian, Drew Clements, a choir was trained.
The faithful parishioners responded enthusiastically with hard work and dedication. The parish saw an opportunity to receive much needed funding and recognition by applying to the National Historic Register. Although the church community still consisted mostly of descendants of the original Russian immigrants and their spouses, Fr Michael opened the church doors to a wider community. Holy Resurrection began to be known not just as “The Russian Church” but as an Orthodox Christian place of worship.
Over 80 years ago, Fr Arcady and 139 Orthodox Christians laid a foundation. Since then, each parishioner and priest has added to this structure through gifts of time, physical labor, prayer, stewardship, song or faithful presence. There are still parishioners whose forebearers were those visionaries who worked moving rocks or pounding nails with the hope that the church would always be here. There are newly arrived Orthodox from Greece, who have settled in this area of northern New Hampshire. There are converts from diverse faiths and backgrounds who radiate the joy of discovery of this timeless faith. There are far-flung parishioners who with dedication travel from Maine, Vermont, Plymouth, and Littleton to participate in the services. The parish is currently serviced by various visiting clergy.